The UAE-based civil society organisation, Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP) organised a series of events and initiatives as part of its ‘Shanab’ initiative to foster greater public awareness about cancers affecting men, throughout November which is observed as Men’s Health Awareness Month.
‘Shanab’, which means moustache in Arabic, is part of the Kashf programme set up by FOCP to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of prostate as well as testicular cancer and endeavours to eliminate stigmas surrounding them.
As part of its education campaign, Shanab launched #Shanab_IT, a month-long challenge that men can take to keep active and engage with colleagues and friends while learning about the signs and symptoms of prostate and testicular cancer. Upon signing up, participants are sent a box containing different styles of false moustaches, to be worn on for every day of the challenge. The objective of the Shanab box is to break the taboo around prostate and testicular cancer and initiate conversations that increase awareness that can lead to early detection and cure.
Participants are encouraged to post about the challenges they take up on their social media accounts with the hashtag #shanab_it. and tag @focpuae
Informational webinar on November
Awareness is critical for catching symptoms early and improving outcomes if diagnosed on time. To promote a culture of openness and encourage vulnerable men to get themselves checked regularly, FOCP hosted an educational awareness webinar featuring specialists in the field. The webinar is available online and can be accessed at: FOCP’s YouTube channel @focpuae.
Shanab is also offering lectures and check-ups under FOCP’s ‘Corporate Wellness Day’ initiative targeting public and private corporate entities in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai,to extend its messaging to a larger segment of the community. Public and private sector corporates in the UAE are encouraged to book the Wellness Day packages well in advance.
Fundraising via Yalla Gives
FOCP has initiated a digital crowd fundraising campaign for Shanab through Yalla Give. Companies as well as individuals are encouraged to set up their own fundraising campaign through the Yalla Give platform to support the initiative. Organisations can create a company fundraiser to encourage staff to be a part of the movement. They need to simply sign up and register as company at www.yallagive.com and select Friends of Cancer Patients as charity partner to fundraise for Shanab initative.
They can also donate to the initiative on FOCP’s online donation platform at: www.focp.ae. Donations can also be made via SMS mentioning ‘Shanab’ in the text to 6447 (AED20); 4426 (AED50); 4467 (AED200); and 2308 (AED500), on etisalat.
Shanab cross-country ride
Harley motorcycle owners’ group also organised a cross-country motorcycle ride in collaboration with FOCP, to raise awareness about prostate and testicular cancer in the UAE under the auspices of Shanab.
The ‘Shanab Ride’ was flagged off from Cafe Rider Custom in Dubai and winded its way to Ras Al Khaimah Beach Resort, where an event was held to help raise funds for the cause.
Dr. Sawsan Al Madhi, Director General of FOCP, said: “Research studies have shown that prostate and testicular cancer continue to be among the top cancers affecting our male population. Most men are completely unaware of both cancers, despite being the most common types of cancer among men aged between 15 and 37 years. There were 1,414, 259 new cases of prostate cancer reported in 2020, of which 375,304 proved fatal. Testicular cancer caused 9,334 deaths and 74,458 new cases were diagnosed last year. Prostate cancer usually occurs in older men, with six in 10 cases occurring in men aged 65 or older. Digital rectal examination (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) are two major tests for early detection of prostate cancer. Both cancers are curable if detected early.”
She added: “That is why we urge men to go for regular check-ups. We urge the community to also take an active role in encouraging families, friends and loved ones to go for screenings. Early detection could make the difference between life and death.”
Rider Aftab Mukadam, who has been participating in the ride for the past three years, said: “The Shanab Ride is very close to my heart. Being a part of this ride for the third year in a row along with my fellow motorcycle riders and our motorcycling community is an experience that cannot be described. We are passionate about creating awareness within our community and society. I am looking forward to the day when the Shanab Ride grows into an event that includes not only the local but also international motorcycling groups.”
FOCP was founded in 1999 under the directives and patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah, Founder and Royal Patron of FOCP, International Ambassador of the World Cancer Declaration for Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), and Patron of the Global NCD Alliance Forum. It is the leading civil society organisation in the UAE that advocates promoting cancer screenings and awareness of the early detectable cancers.
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